WIBU to check on an unfamiliar car?

So a relevant fact about this story is the set up of my neighborhood. Its about 35 houses in the middle of a non-residential area. Its set up with two main North South streets with a few East West cross streets connecting them. The southern ends of the NS roads connect to a pretty major road but the Northern ends are dead ends. So given its not that many houses, most people are like myself and have been there for a long time, and there is 0 reason for any through traffic of people that dont live here I am pretty familiar with the people and cars in the neighborhood.

In the mornings before work I go for a walk around the neighborhood before I get stuck at my desk for hours. Well this morning while Im walking around this car I dont recognize passes me multiple times aparently going around in circles, then when Im about to finish my walk I see it parked a couple of houses down from mine. Since I didnt recognize the car, and he didnt seem to know where he was going I thought he might have been lost. So I go up the car and knock on the window. He rolls down the window and I ask if hes alright, if hes lost or needs any help. He responds that no hes from a couple of miles down the road and his dog had gotten out hes just been driving around hoping to spot it. I say I was sorry to hear that and asked if he had a picture or number I could call if I saw the dog and he said sure and gave me a flyer and then went on his way.

Well the neighborhood rumor mill has gotten going and the conclusion seems to be that I am somewhere between paranoid and a bigot if not both since the man in the unfamiliar car happened to be hispanic. They have been saying I had no reason to approach the car and that doing so implied prejudice and that I was implying the man was a criminal.

Was I unreasonable to check on the car? I admit I did it because I didnt recognize it as one of my neighbors but does that really imply bigotry?

Doesn’t sound it to me. You were trying to be friendly and helpful.

Hope the man finds his dog!


Doesn’t sound like it to me either.

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Sounds like you had a justifiable concern, spoke to the person, and found out it was a simple misunderstanding. Glad it turned out to be a simple misunderstanding.

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I don’t think you did anything wrong. If you had actually seen the dog, no one would be gossiping at all.

On a side note:
Looking at the US from the other side of the pond, it always seemed to me like the race issue keeps on snowballing and getting bigger because a lot of people make everything a race issue. Sounds to me like that happened here as well

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I don’t think you were. First of all, could you see the skin tone of the person in the car before you asked him to roll down his window? I don’t see that you mentioned it before you said it at the end. Second of all how did the rumor mill start unless someone else stopped him or he stopped someone else and told them what happened? Unless someone saw the exchange too.

Neighborhood watch groups have existed for decades. If the person you stopped had nefarious intentions all you were doing were protecting your neighborhood. As it was you offered to keep an eye out for his dog.

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Yes you could see the person in the car. It was an older car with untinted windows so the guy was visible. I didnt mention it because at the time it didnt seem relevant to me. He was a guy that 1) didnt live here and 2) seemed to not be going anywhere specific.

Several people in my neighborhood work from home and so we have quite a few people with a similar routine to me of get up and walk before work. So the car and my interaction with the individual was witnessed by some of the other neighbors who were walking around.


Gotcha. I didn’t mean anything by it. I still don’t think you did anything wrong.

Would that have mattered ?
Everyone focused on skin colour will find others guilty no matter what.

  • Didn’t ask? "You don’t help POC"
  • Did ask? “You only asked because of him/her [insert ethnicity ]!”

I agree you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I just wanted to make sure the people who saw the guy after the fact weren’t accusing him of racial profiling.

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